Lest We Forgot!
Posted on July 9th, 2011

Dr.Chandana Jayalath

Starting from Thimpu discussions far back in the mid of 1980s, every government that came into power since then made serious efforts to address whatever issues concerning politics of the country through a series of comprehensive dialogue. Unfortunately, the history is full of collapsed talks and the true intention of talks has always been disputed fundamentally because there was no participation in good faith by the LTTE. Instead, a ceasefire was always a gainful period for LTTE to recapture its lost strengths, that paved a way for the next massacre. We remember even after the signing of the Ceasefire agreement in 2002, A claymore antipersonnel mine attack by the LTTE on June 15th, 2006 on a bus carrying 140 civilians killed 68 people including 15 children, and injured 60 others. According to Jane’s Information Group, between 1980 and 2000, LTTE had carried out a total of 168 suicide attacks on civilians and military targets.

The number of suicide attacks easily exceeded the combined total of Hezbollah and Hamas suicide attacks conducted out during the same period. The LTTE forcibly removed Sinhalese and Muslim inhabitants from areas under its control, including the use of violence against those who refuse to leave. Most notably, the LTTE forcibly expelled the entire Muslim population of Jaffna within two hoursƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ notice in 1990. The LTTE were also accused of organizing massacres of Sinhala villagers who settled in the Northeast under the dry lands policy, including Kent and Dollar farms if we do remember. The LTTE have executed prisoners of war in spite of a declaration by the LTTE in 1988 that it would abide by the Geneva Conventions and massacred nearly 600 police officers captured after their surrender to the LTTE in 1990, and also executed 200 Sri Lankan soldiers captured during an attack on the Pooneryn army camp, and hundreds of soldiers at the attack on the Mullaitivu army camp.

International experts have long suspected the existence of connections between the LTTE and other internationally designated terrorist organizations including al-Qaeda. Some of the incidents cited to prove these suspicions include the similarities between previous LTTE attacks against Sri Lanka Navy ships and the al-Qaeda attack on the USS Cole which killed 17 US Navy sailors, evidence that the LTTE provided forged passports to RamziYousef, the man who carried out the first attack against the World Trade Center in New York in 1993, increasing intelligence reports that the LTTE was smuggling arms to various terrorist organizations, including Islamic extremists in Pakistan to their counterparts in the Philippines, using their covert smuggling networks, and findings by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies that they were building commercial links with al-Qaeda and other militants in Afghanistan, allegations that the LTTE stole Norwegian passports and sold them to the al-Qaeda organization to earn money to fund their arms purchases.

Glen Jenvey, a specialist on international terrorism, also claimed that al-Qaeda has copied most of its terror tactics from the LTTE. He highlighted the LTTE as the mastermind that sets the pattern for organizations like al-Qaeda to pursue. Some of the comparisons he used to draw his conclusions are the LTTE invented the modern suicide bomber and deployed it against political, military, and civilian targets. The LTTE continuously attacked shipping off the coast of Sri Lanka by blowing ships up and by acts of piracy. Attacks on the USS Cole off Yemen and piracy off the coast of Somalia, a stronghold for al-Qaeda followers, possibly copied the LTTE tactics. The LTTE’s use of a women’s section has being copied by Chechen terrorists, for example the “Black Widows” who played a role in the Moscow theatre hostage crisis. Attacks on civilians in buses and trains in Sri Lanka are similar to the al-Qaeda attacks on public civilian transport during the July 2005 bombings in London.

It is a well-known fact that thousands of children were in the ranks of the LTTE. These children took part in hostilities in front line and were used in support roles such as porters, spies, messengers, look outs, and sexual slaves. They were also used for political advantage as human shields and in propaganda. The camouflaged baby in the photograph in the scene of ThamilChelvamƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s funeral was just a one.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The UNICEF figures showed that the LTTE had abducted 5,666 children until July 2006, although the organization speculates that only about a third of such cases are reported to them. Amid international pressure, LTTE announced in July 2003 that it would stop conscripting child soldiers, but both UNICEF and HRW have accused it of reneging on its promises, and of conscripting Tamil children orphaned by the Tsunami hit in 2005. UNICEF said about 4 in 10 children abducted were girls during night or on their way to school. Aid agencies in eastern Sri Lanka have been besieged by tearful mothers pleading for help.

It is also known that LTTE kept threatening people to give them money or to indirectly fund its activities by patronizing businesses connected with it. During raids by the RCMP, the World Tamil Movement (alleged of funding the LTTE) was found coordinating a number of illegal activities in order to control the Tamil diaspora in Canada. In May 2007, two Tamils were arrested in Australia and were charged for raising thousands of dollars in Australia under the pretense of being for charities and aid for those affected by the 2004 Asian Tsunami, which killed 50,000 people in Sri Lanka, but instead using the money to fund the LTTE. Australian Federal Police conducted raids across Melbourne and Sydney and charged the two men with “being members of a terrorist group, financing terrorism and providing material support for terrorism”. The Australian Federal Police alleged that the men have provided significant funds as well as electronic and marine equipment to the Tamil Tigers since July 2002.

Commenting on the possibility of the LTTE engaging in other similar incidents, Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe said “We are concerned that sort of thing is taking place in Australia, that Australian citizens are being duped into making contributions to what they believe to be honest fundraising activities in terms of relief for people in distressƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚. We all know that the people who are leaving Sri Lanka from Tamil Tiger controlled areas pay some hundred dollars as a forced contribution to the LTTE. In addition to this, people with special skills or a greater wealth than ordinary Tamils may have to pay thousands of dollars to be entitled to leave. The money collected from donations and criminal enterprises are transferred into bank accounts of the Tigers and from there to the accounts of a weapons broker or, the money is taken by KP operatives themselves. In 1995, when the LTTE lost Jaffna, their international operatives were ordered to increase, by a massive 50%, the amount raised from Tamils outside the island.The U.S. Department of Treasury on November 15, 2007 froze the U.S.-held assets of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), an organization registered as a charity in the U.S. and many other countries and ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-acts as a front to facilitate fundraising and procurement for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ The freezing followed clear evidence that ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-the TRO has raised funds on behalf of the LTTE through a network of individual representatives.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ This is the first time that a foreign government has taken action against a front organization of the LTTE by designating it and freezing its assets. In August 2005, the British Charity Commission (BCC) removed the TRO from the British Charities register, on the grounds that it ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-had not been able to account satisfactorily for the application of funds.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ In February 2006, the BCC presented a final report highlighting irregular large cash withdrawals from the charity and its links with the LTTE. However, following the loss of charity status, the same persons connected with TRO registered a new charity called ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”White PigeonƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ and began raising funds.

The U.S. Department of State banned the LTTE as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (TRO) in October 1997, and in November 2001, named the LTTE a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order 13224. Despite such action, the front organizations continued their activities unhindered and reportedly collected large sums of money following the December 2004 Tsunami. A press release issued by the U.S. Embassy in Colombo, says, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The TRO’s efforts worldwide reportedly have allowed the LTTE to use humanitarian aid, which TRO collected for the international community after the December 2004 Tsunami, to launch new campaigns to strengthen LTTE military capacity.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

Jane’s Intelligence Review reported that the LTTE raised up to $300 million a year through various methods, including international credit card fraud and extortion of Tamil expatriates. In April 2007, the Sri Lankan High Commission in London also accused the LTTE of being behind a credit card scam. Williams, a writer at US Institute of Peace Press, alleged the LTTE of crimes such as social security fraud, counterfeit currency trading, and satellite piracy. In 2007 the New York Police Department arrested a number of LTTE operatives who were planning to use stolen credit card information to steal $250,000 in New York City, and tens of millions more from ATMs worldwide. A significant portion of money was obtained through criminal activities, involving sea piracy, human smuggling, drug trafficking, torture and gunrunning.

The LTTE were also accused of hijacking several vessels in waters outside Sri Lanka including the Irish Mona (in August 1995), Princess Wave (in August 1996), Athena (in May 1997), Misen (in July 1997), Morong Bong (in July 1997), MV Cordiality (in Sept 1997) and Princess Kash (in August 1998). When the LTTE captured the MV Cordiality near the port of Trincomalee, they killed all five Chinese crew members on board. The MV Sik Yang, a 2,818-ton Malaysian-flag cargo ship which sailed from Tuticorin, India on May 25, 1999 was reported missing in waters near Sri Lanka. The ship with a cargo of bagged salt was due at the Malaysian port of Malacca on May 31. The fate of the ship’s crew of 15 is unknown. It was suspected that the vessel was hijacked by the LTTE which was later used as a phantom vessel. A report published on June 30, 1999 confirmed that the vessel had been hijacked by the LTTE. In an incident since the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement in 2001, the crew of a Jordanian ship, MV Farah III that ran near rebel-controlled territory off the island’s coast, accused the Sea Tigers of forcing them to abandon the vessel which was carrying 14,000 tonnes of Indian rice and risking their lives. The crew said that the Sea Tigers fired 9 times to force them out of the vessel after failing to explode it in choppy seas 3 days earlier. The skipper of the vessel said “First they tried to set up a bomb and explode the anchor cable and when it failed they ordered us to weigh anchor”. He also said that the Sea Tigers dismantled and removed all radio communication equipment and radar from the vessel.

Another one of LTTE’s most secretive international operations was the smuggling of weapons, explosives, and “dual use” technologies to keep up with the military operations. The part of the LTTE responsible for these activities was given the nickname “KP Branch”, taking the initials of its highest level operative, KumaranPadmanathan. The workers for the KP Branch were outsiders from the fighting wing of the LTTE, since the identities of those fighters were recorded and available to law enforcement and counter-intelligence agencies by India’s RAW, who had helped train many Tiger cadres in the early 1980s. The KP Branch operated extremely secretively by having the minimum connection possible with the LTTE’s other sections for further security. It finally handed over the arms shipments to a highly trusted team of the sea Tigers to deliver them to the LTTE dominated areas.

In order to carryout the activities of International arms trafficking, the LTTE operatedits own fleet of ocean-going vessels. These vessels only operated a certain period of time for the LTTE and in the remaining time they transported legitimate goods and raised hard cash for the purchase of weapons. The LTTE initially operated a shipping base in Myanmar, but they were forced to leave due to diplomatic pressure. To overcome the loss of this, a new base was set up on Phuket Island, in Thailand. However, the most expertly carried out operation of the KP Branch was the theft of 32,400 rounds of 81mm mortar ammunition purchased from Tanzania for the Sri Lanka Army. Being aware of the purchase of 35,000 mortar bombs, the LTTE made a bid to the manufacturer through a numbered company and arranged a vessel of their own to pick up the load. Once the bombs were loaded into the ship, the LTTE changed the name and registration of their ship. The vessel was taken to Tiger-held territory in Sri Lanka’s north instead of transporting it to its intended destination.

Started with unidentified single gunshots upto hit and run assaults to claymore and landmines, chemical attacks, and sea and air strikes against economic targets such as ports, air ports, central bank, ceylinco building, world trade centre, telecom building, oil and a lot of transformers in the North and East, keeping Tamil people in dark, it is important to remind in selves what LTTE has achieved. The vast majority of Tamils condone terrorism, especially the child conscriptions, abduction, killings, extortions accompanied by the suppression of peaceful dissent. They were looking to see a united Sri Lanka, rather than two separate States except of course, the LTTE having no ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”consensusƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ in its vocabulary.

Instructing its cadres to be prepared to die for the cause, issued with a cyanide capsule to be swallowed in the case of capture, the survival of the LTTE on its bullyboy battalion has already proven that the fighting for the cause of Tamil Ealam is no longer a valid proposition. Creditors have better memories than debtors.


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